McCullough named as chamber director

The Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce has found Magi Aguilar’s successor.

Dannah McCullough, a local business owner originally from Hawaii, was hired as the chamber’s new executive director Monday. Aguilar, who has worn the executive director’s hat since September 2022, recently accepted a job as the City of Oak Harbor’s communications director.

McCullough said she was drawn to the job because of her love for the community. Being a small city, Oak Harbor is a place where small businesses support each other, which she said is a strength.

As the new director, the 37-year-old wants to find opportunities for collaboration with different businesses and organizations. She recently turned her passion for cooperation into a business.

In March, McCullough opened The Collective, a space in Oak Harbor where students, workers and anyone else can work on group projects, hold meetings and meet new people with shared interests.

As a small business owner, she noticed how, in general, some resources are offered based on assumptions rather than data. By looking into the needs and challenges faced by owners, McCullough hopes to make sure the chamber is offering the appropriate support, as well as identifying barriers for non-member businesses.

A challenge she has been experiencing is reaching her target market. She said this is a difficulty encountered by small businesses that offer “unconventional” services and that are located in less visible and trafficked areas.

She admires those business owners, she said, as they were able to transform a hobby and a passion into a product. In her new role, she said she will ensure they will stay updated on any events and resources available.

McCullough also brings the perspective of a military spouse. In 2020, she and her family moved from Hawaii to Oak Harbor, where her husband now serves as part of the Theater Undersea Surveillance Command Pacific at NAS Whidbey Island.

She believes her experience allows her to help businesses maximize their visibility, relevance and impact in a place where many customers are tied to the Navy.

McCullough looks forward to her first day on May 20.

“I have a love for this community and I have a passion to see businesses thrive,” she said.